Neighborhood members gathered in Pilsen Sunday evening to grapple with the Benito Juarez Neighborhood Academy taking pictures that left two teenagers lifeless and two extra injured on Friday.
Greater than 50 folks mourned the deaths of Brandon Perez, 15, and Nathan Billegas, 14.
They aired their ideas and emotions in Spanish and English throughout an open dialogue on the neighborhood’s Lincoln United Methodist Church.
”Our hearts are damaged for what occurred,” pastor Emma Lozano mentioned, noting in her opening prayer that the scholars had been gunned down simply outdoors the college constructing’s door after dismissal.
Dad and mom and younger folks shared worry, ache and frustration as they spoke.
Many fought tears and highlighted pervasive violence, hope for peace and a burning need to construct change and higher shield Pilsen’s kids.
Some audio system referred to as for a pause in lessons, clearer security plans or extra actions for younger folks. Others demanded conferences with the mayor, governor and Chicago Public Faculties leaders to answer violence all through colleges.
They had been joined by Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, twenty fifth, Illinois Sen. Javier Loera Cervantes, 1st, in addition to representatives of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook dinner County and CPS.
”I’m bored with seeing children die to mindless gun violence that we will simply stop,” 21-year-old violence prevention organizer William Guerrero mentioned.
Community 15 Chief of Faculties Michael Boraz shared CPS’s plans to help college students and employees within the coming week with the group. The varsity will stay open, however absences will probably be excused if dad and mom name the college, he mentioned.
”There’s many college students who the perfect place for them to be this week is in school,” Boraz mentioned.
Juan Carlos Padilla waited for his son to exit the college after the taking pictures Friday, feeling fortunate when his baby walked out unhurt, he advised the group.
”I really feel so incompetent that I can’t do one thing,” Padilla mentioned.
He referred to as on politicians and oldsters to arrange techniques that might permit for folks to volunteer to guard the college.
”As a result of that might’ve been my son,” he mentioned.
Two others shot included a 15-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy. Brandon was a pupil at Juarez, whereas Nathan was a pupil at Chicago Bulls School Prep, police mentioned. The surviving woman attends Juarez and the surviving boy is a pupil at Noble UIC School Prep, in accordance with police.
[ ‘I’m just thinking about her, hoping that she’s OK.’ ]
A GoFundMe set as much as assist defray the prices of the 2 boys’ funerals late Saturday had raised over $6,000 by Sunday night.
”Nathan was a really clever, outgoing and kindhearted younger boy,” his sister wrote on the fundraiser. “You knew he would exit of his approach for anyone in the event that they wanted it. He had the most important coronary heart.”
Nathan’s sister referred to as Brandon “outgoing, lovable, good.”
”He was caring, well mannered, and a gentleman. They each had their entire futures forward of them,” she wrote.
Nathan’s mom, Mayra Tapia, confirmed the GoFundMe.
”I simply need to be sure that whoever killed him will get caught,” Tapia mentioned Saturday.
There are not any suspects in custody, police mentioned Sunday evening.
Detectives are persevering with to research, and CPS officers mentioned their college system is cooperating with police to assist discover the shooter.
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Police shared a picture Saturday of an individual they’re looking for for questioning that was captured with surveillance footage close to the scene of the taking pictures.
Chris Patterson, assistant secretary of firearm violence prevention on the Illinois Division of Human Companies, mentioned state authorities will proceed to work with anti-violence neighborhood teams in Pilsen.
”We perceive that colleges should not the protected area they need to be, however neither are our communities or our cities,” Patterson mentioned.
The therapeutic course of is simply starting, mentioned youth pastor Tanya Lozano, a former Juarez pupil who’s Emma Lozano’s daughter.
”It’s going to be some time earlier than the children I imagine really feel protected going again to high school,” Tanya Lozano mentioned.
Leaders should make the college safer for college students, however violence additionally has advanced roots, she mentioned.
”This isn’t a coincidental factor that occurred. It’s a end result of better points,” Tanya Lozano mentioned.